Sheikh Rashid due in court after completion of two-day physical remand


ISLAMABAD: The police will present Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed before a local court of the federal capital today (Saturday) on the expiry of his two-day physical remand in a murder plot allegations case.

The former minister — who is a close aide of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan — was arrested from Murree Motorway on February 2 for hurling allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari for hatching a plot to assassinate the former prime minister.

Following the arrest, the court remanded Rashid into police custody for two days.

He was later booked in two other cases for threatening police personnel and passing "offensive" and "nasty" comments against Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

During today's hearing in Judicial Magistrate Umar Shabbir's court, the prosecution will inform the court about the photogrammetry and voice-matching tests of Rashid.

'Cases against PTI won't improve economy'

PTI leader Faisal Javed Khan while speaking to the media in Islamabad said that Sheikh Rashid is being targeted for raising the voice of truth.

"Filing cases on us will not improve the economy," he said, adding that they are ready to express solidarity with Rashid.

Javed went on to say that the government offers talks but on the other hand cases are being filed against the PTI leaders and its allies.

He said that his party has already proposed the solution to come out of this quagmire, which is to "announce the date for elections".

"Unemployment and inflation are breaking records today. The only solution is elections," the PTI leader said.

Moreover, Javed said that the freedom of the press is being restricted with every passing day and the rights of journalists are violated.

The one who tells the truth and exposes the government's incompetence is threatened, he added.

The arrest

The police claimed to arrest Rashid from Murree Road in the wee hours of February 2. However, the former interior minister and his nephew, Sheikh Rashid Shafiq, contradicted the police's version and said that the authorities took him into custody from his house in Rawalpindi and not the motorway.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Rawalpindi Division President Raja Inayat Ur Rehman had filed a case against Rashid in Islamabad's Aabpara Police Station for alleging that former president Asif Ali Zardari was hatching a plot to assassinate the PTI chief.

In the FIR, the PPP divisional president stated that the AML chief tried to badmouth a former president and cause a "permanent danger" to the PPP co-chairman and his family.

The FIR

The FIR added that Rashid, with his allegations, wants to cause a fight between the PTI and the PPP and disrupt the country's peace.

The PPP leader added that the AML chief claimed to have vital information regarding a "conspiracy" being hatched to assassinate the PTI chief.

"If that's the case, then the police should take both the leaders into custody under Section 150 and 151 and foil the conspiracy" to stop the spread of unrest in the country, he added.

Three sections — 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) — have been added to the FIR.

Moreover, police told journalists that a bottle of liquor and a weapon has been recovered from Rashid's possession. Police also said that the former interior minister was "intoxicated" when he was arrested.

Initially, the Murree Police had arrested him and later they handed him over to the Islamabad Police, who shifted him to the Aabpara Police Station, where the case has been registered.

Rashid is also embattled in another case of "illegal occupation" as the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) had sealed Lal Haveli — his residence — and five adjoining units on January 30. On the same day, the Lahore High Court ordered to de-seal of the property.

The former minister was shifted to the Secretariat police station after his medical checkup at the Polyclinic hospital.

Imran Khan slams 'biased' interim Punjab CM

In response, the former prime minister, Imran Khan condemned the arrest of his close aide and blamed the interim Punjab government — led by media mogul Moshin Naqvi — for being biased.

"Never in our history have we had such a biased, vindictive caretaker govt [appointed] by totally discredited ECP [Election Commission of Pakistan]," the ex-premier said.

"Question is can Pak afford a street movement which we are being pushed towards at a time when Imported Govt has bankrupted us?" he asked.

Allegations

The PTI chairman had in January alleged that Zardari was hatching as well as financing an assassination plot against him for which the ex-president had hired "terrorists".

"...there's a Plan C. Asif Zardari is behind it. He has amassed a lot of money through corruption and he has invested that money in terrorists and hired a militant organisation," the PTI chief had alleged. However, the PPP strongly denied the claim and served a legal notice to Khan.

Following the allegations put forward by Khan, Rashid had also backed the claims and supported the allegations.

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